8 Must-Haves For Your Wine Cellar
Having a wine cellar in their home is a luxury most wine aficionados would love to have. Whether the wine cellar is elaborate or more simple, there are some things that are essential to every size wine cellar, besides bottles of wine, of course! When in the planning stages, make a list a these must-haves to make your wine cellar work as efficiently as possible.
- Cooling Units
It is necessary for the proper storage of wine that bottles be kept at a constant temperature to keep the wine at its best. Cooling units also maintain the right humidity level for the wine. Experts say the temperature should be between 12.7-14.4 celsius and the humidity between 50-70 percent.
Cooling units are sort of like air conditioners with different functions. Settings are geared to keeping wines in their best drinkable quality. There are a number of wine cooling units on the market and the one you choose should reflect the size of your cellar, and of course, your budget. You definitely don’t have to spend a fortune on a cooler, but you do need to make sure it has the proper functions to let you make sure the wine is being stored at the optimal temperature and humidity levels.
If the cellar is well insulated, you may just need a small cooling unit. Digital controls are important since they will allow proper tracking of cellar conditions. Controls not only have settings, but will instantly tell you what the temperature and humidity is in the wine cellar.
- Wine Racks
A wine cellar without wine cellar racks isn’t really a wine cellar at all. Wine cellar racks are an affordable way to store bottles in your cellar. You can purchase pre-fab kits or talk to someone who would be able to custom build them for you. Racks in kits are pre-drilled and contain materials for relatively easy assembly.
You can add racks to your cellar as your collection grows. Racks come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Your choice depends on not only your personal tastes, but the number of bottles you plan on storing. The most popular materials for wine racks are wood, plastic and metal. Take some time to think about the design of your cellar before deciding on the types of wine cellar racks that will go into it.
This little digital gadget constantly monitors the temperature and humidity in your wine cellar. If there is not enough humidity in the cellar, you’ll find that wine corks will start to dry out, letting air into the bottles, and ultimately ruining much of your prized collection. On the other hand, keeping a wine cellar too humid is the perfect atmosphere for mold growth which could ruin bottle labels.
- Cellar Doors
Doors will ensure the constant temperature and humidity so important for a successful wine cellar. Wine cellar doors made of wood and weather stripped will do the trick, however, metal doors that are insulated also work well. Your budget can come into play here, since wood doors are more expensive and harder to come by for a wine cellar than are metal ones.
The most popular materials for wine cellar floors are slate, vinyl, marble or tile. It is best to choose flooring that matches the design and colour you’ve chosen for the walls and ceiling. Never use carpet in a wine cellar. It’s only an invitation for mold and mildew which would thrive in the damp, cool temperature.
Low voltage lighting is what you’re aiming for in a wine cellar – even better if the lights are on timers or motion sensitive, since regulating the amount of light in the cellar is important. Lights emit heat and heat increases temperature, something you definitely don’t want happening around your bottles of wine. That said, the right lighting does add a lovely dimension to your cellar and ups the ambience.
A popular lighting choice is recessed ceiling lights with dimmers so you can control the brightness. Wine collectors also like track lights which add a nice glow, but aren’t overly hot or harsh. Display lights can also be installed to highlight one or two special collections.
If your cellar is on the large side with high walls, having a sliding ladder installed would make it easier to get to those harder to reach bottles.
- Alarm System
Picking bottles of wine for your collection often takes many years and the last thing you want is the wine to end up spoiled. An alarm system will let you know if the temperature in the cellar is too high, too low or is unsteady. This is a good feature to have, especially if your collection includes very expensive vintages.